Classes/Workshops

STEMprov: Improv for Inclusion and Belonging in Science Communication #

This beginner workshop applies tools of improv to creating inclusive environments in the less-complex, lower-stakes world of imaginative play. We’ll focus on three themes:

  1. facilitating difficult conversations
  2. creating cultures of “yes and”, and
  3. embracing variation and diversity in thought.

We’ll play improv games that require deep listening and empathy. We’ll practice leading with presence and engaging with curiosity rather than falling into habits of summarizing or offering solutions--all skills for facilitating difficult conversations across difference. We’ll also investigate one of the core philosophies of improv, “yes and” and work at creating cultures of “yes anding” onstage and off. When how we are “supposed” to be acting feels prescribed, non-inclusive environments can emerge. When we move away from the paradigm of sanctioning as tightly with a “yes and” philosophy, this parallels the process of moving away from “in grouping” and “out grouping.”

We will also explore the value of embracing variation and diversity of thought. When the same group of people starts off with the same piece of information, they often see and imagine different directions for it. We’ll play improv games that help us examine how to create welcoming contexts for this richness in collaboration and creativity. As we play these improv games and feel the shifts that these three themes allow us, we’ll reflect and discuss which factors enable and which obstruct the cultures we wish to create and parallel how to cultivate these same spaces in our science communication research and practice.

Storytelling for Scientists #

Whether writing a research grant or inspiring young people to become future researchers, we are communicating science. We are storytelling animals, and the more skilled and confident we are in telling science stories, the more successful we will be in our field. In this online workshop, we will cover how stories are structured and practice transforming our science facts and figures into powerful stories. After attending this workshop, you will be more skillful and confident in storytelling about your science.

STEMprov: Improv for Science Communication #

Improvisation requires you to understand group dynamics, tell stories, and say yes in the face of the unknown. In many ways, improv draws upon the very same skills we cultivate as scientists. This beginner-friendly improv workshop will combine best practices from science communication scholarship with the tools of improvisational theater to help you more strategically and effectively communicate.

By the end of this course you will learn to tap into your own sense of play and humor, gain tools to manage communication apprehension and anxiety, access your innate creativity, enhance your connection and empathy, collaborate using “yes and”, go off-script, react off-the-cuff, and gain narrative tools for transforming facts into storytelling. No matter what your science communication goals are--from being the next YouTube sensation to being more confident in job interviews, the tools in this workshop will support your journey.

Science Communication Seminar and Practicum #

Course offered to graduate students in the College of Natural Science at The University of Texas at Austin (every other spring, last offered in 2019). Explores the rapidly growing field of science communication and the intersection of science, media, and society. Special attention directed toward the strategic communication of science and developing skills in the effective communication of scientific concepts.

Transmissions from 2050: Arts-Based Environmental Activism #

"Transmissions from 2050" is a multi-day, TEKS aligned project-based learning unit that offers young people an opportunity to develop their own understanding about the specific challenges that climate change poses for their communities through a combination of scientific data, personal narrative, historical precedent, and theatrical performance skills.

Over 10 sessions students will expand their understanding of climate change, explore and apply their climate-change learning to various scenarios based on climate science, and imagine what their communities might need to do in order to adapt to a changing climate.

Contact #

Please feel free to contact me at nichole.lynn.bennett@gmail.com for for collaboration, rates, and scheduling.